Daily Gospel Reflection – Thursday, April 11

John 8:51-59
Jesus said to the Jews:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever keeps my word will never see death.”
So the Jews said to him,
“Now we are sure that you are possessed.
Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say,
‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’
Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died?
Or the prophets, who died?
Who do you make yourself out to be?”
Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing;
but it is my Father who glorifies me,
of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’
You do not know him, but I know him.
And if I should say that I do not know him,
I would be like you a liar.
But I do know him and I keep his word.
Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day;
he saw it and was glad.”
So the Jews said to him,
“You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
before Abraham came to be, I AM.”
So they picked up stones to throw at him;
but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.

These verses close out this chapter of the Book of John with a very clear message: Not only is Jesus the true Son of God, but those who believe in him and keep his word-his commands-will never “see death.” There are two different thoughts on what Jesus meant by these words, but both agree that his word is truth; what is spoken shall be.

The first belief is that you will experience death, but not eternal death. The second belief is literal-that once you accept Jesus and his sacrifice and live according to his commands you have already received eternal life and cannot lose it. In other words, he didn’t mean ‘you’ll see death, it just won’t last forever,’ but meant the exact words that were spoken.

The Jews could not understand what it means to look beyond the physical, to the spiritual truth Jesus spoke. Their patriarch, Abraham, had died a physical death. Their prophets had died physical deaths. They were shocked that a man would make such a claim to be more powerful than death. This is similar to when we are called out by someone for a wrongdoing and think to ourselves, “Who do they think they are?!” They were upset at his claim and asking Jesus, “Who do you think you are?!”

Jesus wasn’t worried with who he thought he was. His identity was found in God and he was glorified by God. We should also be of the mindset that our own thoughts of ourselves, and what others think of us, should not define us. Our identity should be found in Christ, and through him we should live to glorify God. Just as Jesus told the Jews, “I know Him, and I keep His Word,” we should strive to know God and keep His commands.

He ends this conversation with two very important words: I Am. Because an extremely important part of the Jewish faith is to study the Torah (the Old Testament of the Bible), the crowd knew those words well. God used those words to describe Himself. These men were already displeased with Jesus’s claim as the Son of God, but by these words claiming to be one with God they became enraged.

The important thing for us to remember from this passage is that time as we measure it cannot be applied to God’s existence. He is infinite; the One who was, and is, and is to come. He sent His Son to walk among the fallen people of the earth and become the ultimate sacrifice to save us from our sins. We should strive to know God and keep his commands. We should aim to walk this earth the way Jesus walked this earth. And when we are confronted with skepticism, we should respond with the Truth.

By Mrs. Lauren Alexander, Faculty